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Family says "Frenchman Christian Elombo detained in Oman in connection with Sheikha Latifa’s escape"

Press Release   •   Mar 20, 2018 15:42 GMT

Christian Elombo, French fitness centre operator in Oman

40 year old fitness centre operator Christian Elombo from Paris, is current detained in Oman’s national security prison following his alleged involvement in the rescue of Sheikha Latifa, daughter of the ruler of Dubai.

6 people are reported missing after a distress call was made from US registered yacht “Nostromo” off the coast of Goa, India.  Missing passengers Hervé Jaubert, Sheikha Latifa & Tiina Jauhiainen, along with Philippines citizens Ginner Paghubasan, Mark Anthony Olasiman and Marvic Paghubasan.

Hervé Jaubert told Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, before his disappearance, that his friend had been “arrested in Oman on instruction of the UAE” and that while they had not charged him with anything officially, there was talk of fabricated drug trafficking charges.

Radha Stirling said in a statement “Since the missing persons report and subsequent press coverage of the incident, we have been contacted by Christian’s family, who have confirmed his detention in Oman. The French Embassy have not yet been able to visit Christian, and his lawyer has not been able to assist. Most lawyers would feel that this issue is too sensitive to become involved with.

We are acting for Christian’s family in seeking intervention from French authorities to ensure that he is treated fairly and of course, we are also seeking urgent international investigation into the other disappeared parties. If those parties were seized while legally onboard a US registered vessel, by a foreign government in international or Indian waters, that constitutes criminal activity and they must be made accountable”.

Detained in Dubai has been assisting authorities and seeking information that may help with the investigation. Prominent London based Barrister Toby Cadman of Guernica International Justice Chambers has already raised the incident and allegations of Sheikha Latifa at the United Nations, requesting urgent investigation and intervention and Christian’s name has been added to the growing list of applicants.

David Haigh said “as we have with Tiinas family and Herves’ Family, we have been providing support to the Elombo Family at this distressing time.

This started with most people thinking it was a hoax. It is not. This is now a major international incident, that shows once again that Dubai is simply not safe for tourism or business.

Six missing people and two detained on what appear, at best, fanciful accusations that change daily. One Dubai Princess, one Finnish Woman, one American/French Man and Three Filipinos are missing for over two weeks and a French man and a Brazilian woman have been detained on the orders of the UAE it seems in Oman national security jail.

On the one hand, we have the UAE United Nations Mission issuing what can only be described as deluded press releases about Human Rights and Justice when the dark reality is what we see before us, and what the UAE are trying their best to cover up. The UAE must answer the grave allegations of torture and abuse by Sheikha Latifa against her father and its must tell the world where Sheikha Latifa and this growing group of people are.”

  • Detained in Dubai is in touch with the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Police. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs have confirmed that they are seeking any information that may assist their investigation and that the Finnish Embassy in Abu Dhabi is following the case.
  • Detained in Dubai has filed an urgent request for intervention with the Indian Coast Guard and has provided last known coordinates of the yacht called “Nostromo”, registered in Delaware, US.
  • It has been reported to Escape from Dubai that UAE authorities have “rounded up at least ten people who were known to be in communication with Tiina, after the duo went missing in late February”. Detained in Dubai is seeking further information on those who may currently be in CID custody.
  • Escape from Dubai was founded in response to this incident to act as a central information point and is seeking to raise funds to assist with legal and investigative costs.
  • Detained in Dubai is now in contact with all family members of the missing persons.
  • Social media users are using hashtags #FindLatifa #FindHervé #WhereisLatifa? #WhereisHervé? #EscapefromDubai#WhereisNostromo? to source information and raise awareness. #WhereisTiina? is the new question that needs answering.

Statement of family of Christian Elombo 20-03-18

“This statement is from the Elombo Family in relation to our son and brother Christian Elombo. We have authorised David Haigh and Radha Stirling of Detained in Dubai to issue it on our behalf, given our desire for privacy at this time.

Chris, is a French Citizen born on the 27 June 1977 in Paris. He is a son, a brother and a friend. He is currently detained by the Oman authorities in its national security prison following his alleged involvement in the “rescue” of Sheikha Latifa Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Princess of Dubai, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai.

Chris has been living in the Middle East since 2004. At the time of his detention he was living in Oman, managing a fitness centre. On 24 February 2018, Chris called us and told us the story of a young woman who had suffered mental and physical abuse from her father and her father’s“men. We found what he told us to be so, almost unbelievable, Chris said he would send us a video so that we can know what to do with it if something wrong would happen to him.

We looked at the video and saw a young woman saying that she was Sheikha Latifa Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Princess of Dubai, the daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Prime minister and vice president of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum. That video, in the next half an hour or so went on to set out that she suffered from detention without trial, severe physical assaults, torture and inhumane and degrading treatment, false imprisonment and being drugged, and that her sister had also suffered similar. That treatment she said went on for more than three years, just because she helped her sister, who had also ran away from Dubai.

On 25 February, Chris told our family that he will come and visit us in Luxembourg on the next Tuesday. We started calling him from Tuesday 27 February 2018 until 1st March 2018t and could not reach him.

On 28 February 2018, Tiina Jauhiainen texted us, asking for us to call her back. We did not see Tiinas text. Tiina Jauhiainen is Chris’s best friend. She is one of the strongest and most trustworthy people we have ever met. On 2 March 2018, we called Tiina. She explained to us that she was on a boat with Sheikha Latifa and their friend Hervé, they had escaped Dubai and could not tell me where they were for my own safety. Tiina told us that Sheikha Latifa no longer wanted to live in fear, fear that she describes in detail in the video that no doubt many of you have now seen. Any woman can understand that, any human can understand that. Every human deserves to be free. Tiina told me that Sheikha Latifa had appointed and was being supported by Radha Stirling and David Haigh from Detained in Dubai in her bid for freedom.

We now know that Sheikha Latifa, together with American French National Hervé Jaubert and Tiina had been working together to let Sheikha Latifa escape Dubai since 2017.

Tina, Hervé and Sheikha Latifa are all missing. They have not been in touch with us since 4th March 2018. We know that others who were in contact with Sheikha Latifa, Hervé and Tiina such as Radha Stirling and David Haigh also lost contact with them around the same time.

On 3rd March 2018, our family contacted both the Dubai and Oman French Consulates. After no information from either the UAE or Oman, on the 7th of March 2018, Mrs Olivia Lamy, from the French Embassy in Oman, confirmed that Chris had been detained by the national security office of Oman. From other sources that we cannot quote, we were informed that such arrest was made on instruction of the UAE.

Chris is currently being detained for “deporting people”. He has not been provided bail, access to a lawyer, access to visitation or access to a telephone. His house has been searched an all his computer equipment and phones has been seized.

We have discovered that the police of Oman had detained Chris’s female friend Dani, a Brazilian national. They told her father that Chris is being wanted by Interpol in 15 countries. They told Chris’ friends, sponsors and partners that Chris was arrested for drug trafficking in Bahrain. They confirmed to the French Consulate that he was accused of moving people outside the country. They are now saying that he entered the country illegally. It is just so confusing. The story of the UAE and Oman changes several times a day.

Chris is a good kind and proud Frenchman, having served his country. He never looks at weight, age, disability, colour or nationality and loves everyone, always looking at what’s good in people and trying to see the good things in every situation.

All our family want to see Chris home safe, we want to see our brother and son home safe in Luxembourg, everyone who knows Chris and who knows his good heart wants to see him back home safe. Chris has done nothing wrong.

Chris, Dani, Hervé, Latifa and Tina are all very special kind and caring human beings, having family and friends all worried about their loving brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends. Please release all of them.

I would like the press to respect our pain, our deep, serious concern and of course our privacy at this very difficult time.”

Background Information:

British NGO Detained in Dubai received a plea for emergency assistance from American/French national Hervé Jaubert, famous for his book “Escape from Dubai”. Hervé and a young woman who claimed to be a daughter of the ruler of Dubai, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, made contact with Detained in Dubai to seek assistance. They said that they were “escaping” the United Arab Emirates to seek refuge in the United States, following the woman’s claims of “imprisonment, torture and abuse”, the details of which are described in a YouTube video that was sent to a US attorney for publication in the event of her disappearance or death. Their identities have been confirmed by a number of parties.

Herve advised Detained in Dubai that he was helping the woman “escape Dubai” on board a US registered vessel. They were approaching India on Sunday the 4th of March 2018 and were within 50 miles as of 11:00 GMT, with the plan to disembark and fly to the US from Mumbai. A distress call was made seven hours later from Sheikha Latifa to Radha Stirling, then contact ceased immediately and permanently.

An American man, an Emirati woman and a third woman, believed to be British, have all been reported as missing. Since then, a prominent British barrister, Harpreet Singh Giani who is also an Indian advocate, has confirmed from his sources within the Indian intelligence community that Sheikha Latifa is alive and that she has been “taken back to Dubai”. Mr Giani was unable to comment whether there was any military involvement by either country. We are therefore calling on an investigation into an incident that potentially involves the kidnapping of three parties who are likely to have been in Indian territorial waters. There have been further reports that an Electronic Warfare Aircraft was in the vicinity, a craft designed to interrupt communication platforms which would have required India’s cooperation.

Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai’s CEO, who was instructed to assist by the missing persons, said “We call on relevant international authorities to investigate the disappearance of US National Hervé Jaubert, Emirati National Sheikha Latifa and her British friend. No questions as to the whereabouts of the missing persons have been answered and no responses provided by the United Arab Emirates government. We are gravely concerned for the safety of all three parties and thank all of those who have come forth with information.”

Detained in Dubai was contacted by a woman who identified herself as a Sheikha Latifa Mohammed Al Maktoum the daughter of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and a man who identified himself as Jean Pierre Hervé Jaubert, who was known to Detained in Dubai’s CEO, Radha Stirling. Immediately upon initial contact, Detained in Dubai commenced steps to verify the identity of the parties and the claims made. British Solicitor David Haigh was able to contact various third parties who confirmed the identity of Sheikha Latifa. During this process there was regular and lengthy contact between the missing persons and Detained in Dubai.

Further information:

On Sunday the 4th of March, Ms Stirling was advised by Hervé at 11:00 GMT that the vessel was within 50 miles of India and that they intended to disembark. At 18:24 GMT, Ms. Stirling received a distress message, followed by a distress call from the woman who appeared in a panicked and frightened state. She stated "Radha, please help. There are men outside. I hear gunshots and I am hiding with my friend (now known to be Tiina Jauhiainen)".

Following the distress call, communication with all of the missing persons ceased. Having had communication with the missing person previously, and following the distress call, Detained in Dubai alerted the relevant authorities. Detained in Dubai further sought the assistance of leading human rights Barristers and Queen's Counsel together with the assistance of several leading human rights charities with which Detained in Dubai works.

Detained in Dubai filed a police report with the Metropolitan police, the UAE Embassy in the UK, the United States State Department and the Coast Guard of India. The only authority who has responded is the United Kingdom who have forwarded the report to the National Crime Agency and Interpol for investigation.

Since the incident, parties who had known the missing persons have confirmed their identity and last known location. Close friends have confirmed that the woman in the video is indeed Sheikha Latifa who explained that there are three Sheikha Latifa’s and that she was the middle one known for skydiving, with the instagram account latifa_1.

Two US attorneys confirmed that they were aware of the situation and had been contacted by American and French national and Florida resident Hervé Jaubert, a client of theirs, who was also known to them. They have since prepared a missing persons report.

The @MailOnline broke the news on Friday and showed part of a video where the woman explains some of the reasons for her escape attempt. The video was provided to a US attorney by Latifa for distribution in the event of her death or disappearance. The video extends for around 40 minutes and makes claims that she was "imprisoned, tortured, beaten and censored” as well as going onto name those involved and setting out various potential crimes. That video was provided to the authorities and legal advisors. The full video has since been published on YouTube by a variety of sources.

Radha Stirling, who was the last party to speak with the missing persons said "We are very concerned for the safety of the missing persons. We have already been inundated with calls and emails and evidence that assist us and the authorities. We appeal to anyone for any information that could be helpful to please get in touch with us. We would also like to appeal to anyone that can assist with the search. Lawyers, Human rights organisations, friends, family or even the General public.

The missing persons requested our assistance and instructed us to assist them in in the event of their arrest or disappearance, which we are now doing. We are liaising with authorities, leading human rights lawyers and human rights organisations.

We are seeking response from US, British, Indian and UAE authorities on this incident. A US national and his American registered boat have gone missing, as well as Sheikha Latifa, with Indian intelligence suggesting that they are now in the custody of UAE authorities against their will.

Anyone with information on the missing persons, can please contact:

Missing Persons Information: latifa@detainedindubai.org

Press Queries: press@detainedindubai.org

UAE Criminal and Civil Justice Specialists.  Contact us on info@detainedindubai.org

Detained in Dubai Limited, is registered in England and Wales under company number 11248768 with its registered office at Kemp House, 180 City Road, London EC1 2NX UK

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